LUCKNOW: Hitting back at SP chief Akhilesh Yadav for his recent 'Thoko Neeti' (encounter policy) remarks, UP Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma Thursday said those "having a soft corner" for criminals are using new words to weaken the government's drive against crime and criminals.
He claimed that criminals who roamed freely in the previous SP regime were now in jail.
"He (Akhilesh) does not have any answer. In the previous SP government, criminals roamed freely on the streets, operated as party workers inside a police station. Now those criminals are in the jail.
"Those having soft corner for criminals are using new words only to weaken the government's drive against crime and criminals. The more vigorous attack is done on the criminals, the more pain is felt by those having sympathy towards them," Sharma told PTI in an interview.
His remarks came days after Yadav alleged that the police officers in Uttar Pradesh are following the 'Thoko Neeti' (encounter policy) of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to avoid getting transferred.
"The UP chief minister is advocating his Thoko Neeti (encounter policy) everywhere. Due to this, there is a trend among the police officials that they undertake encounters when they anticipate that they can be transferred. Their acts are emulated by their subordinates," Yadav had said.
Seeking support from all sections of the society for the success of anti-crime measures taken by the BJP government, Sharma said that the UP chief minister has made it amply clear to policemen that there should be "zero tolerance" towards crime.
"Our endeavour is that Uttar Pradesh, which was earlier synonymous with crime and criminals, should now be known for work and development. Instead of guns and country-made revolvers in hands, there should be computers," he said.
To a question on the NHRC issuing notices to the state government from time to time on police encounters, he said, "All police encounters which took place in the state during the current BJP regime are based on facts."
He trashed as "baseless" the allegations of fake encounters levelled by non-BJP parties.
"All police encounters and actions that took place in the state were based on facts and there were cases registered against the criminals. As far as allegations of fake encounters are concerned, they are baseless. Those who have levelled allegations, do not have any proof to authenticate their claims," Sharma said.
In November 2018, the NHRC had sent notices to the UP government and the director general of police over reports that a youth was shot dead in an alleged fake encounter by the state police in Muzaffarnagar.
The deputy CM said that since the Adityanath government took over on March 20, 2017 to December 9, 2018, there have been 3,083 police actions, in which 7,155 criminals were arrested and 857 injured in police encounters. The number of criminals killed, when the police had to fire in self-defence stood at 69.
"In these encounters, 541 cops were injured, while four lost their lives. The campaign undertaken against the criminals in the state (since the government was formed) has successfully instilled fear among the criminals and a sense of security in the public," Sharma said.
To another question, he said, "The biggest achievement of the UP government was that all the festivals be it Eid, Kaanwar Yatra, Holi, Dussehra and Deepawali passed off peacefully. There was no communal riot or any untoward incident. Apart from this, not a single terror attack took place in the state."
Sharma said the UP Anti-Terror Squad was able to arrest more than 45 people with terror links.
"After the BJP government was formed in the state, some people arrested under the campaign undertaken were found to have links with ISIS, Babbar Khalsa and Lashkar-e-Taeba," he said.
He hit out at the SP, saying that there had been a drop in the cases pertaining to cow slaughter.
"In 2016, during the SP regime, as many as 4,085 cases were registered, while in 2018 (from January 1 to November 30, 2018), as many as 3,340 cases were registered for incidents of cow slaughter. This makes it amply clear that the SP's claim of lodging of fake cases is absolutely false."
On the allegations of poor law and order levelled by parties over attacks on cops in Bulandshahr and Ghazipur, he said, "The government has acted tough in Bulandshahr and Ghazipur incidents. Unlike the previous governments, this government has gone in the depth of the case to solve it."
"Initially, in the Bulandshahr violence case, some Muslims were named accused. But, when no evidence was found against them, the police gave in writing that this is not correct. This is an example of impartial behaviour of the police which was missing in the earlier regimes and it is due to the strictness shown by the government," the deputy chief minister said.
Sharma also said that the average response time of UP-100 is 14 minutes, as promised in the Sankalp Patra. He added that a Special Task Force was constituted to tackle cyber crime and a training facility set up to combat cyber terrorism.